Cocktail of the Week: Best Recession-Friendly Sparklers

New Year’s Eve is tomorrow, so what will you be drinking on the biggest night of the year? While many top New Year’s Eve parties throughout the country will be providing premier bottles to patrons, some people will be hosting lavish fiestas at home, which means stocking up on champagne for popping. However, not everyone is willing to spend $150 for quality wine, but then again, those $3 drinks from the liquor store may end up causing an unwanted belly ache that’s far worse than a hangover. And let’s face it, New Year’s Eve is about celebrating, not regretting! Fortunately, sparkling wine can be both economical and delicious on this festive event, which is why we decided to skip on cocktails and instead, hunt down for the best recession-friendly “sparklers” to welcome 2010. Whether you’re seeking traditional champagne or Spanish cava, you won’t be spending a fortune. Now that’s what we call a happy New Year.

Top Recession-Friendly Sparkler: Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noir ($19-22)

Looking for a luscious wine to start off your New Year on a sweet note? Domain Chandon Blanc de Noir from Napa Valley comes from the first French-owned winery in California producing sparkling wines. This is one bottle that everyone should have in their bars as it can be paired with nearly any type of dish you’re craving, and it feels downright heavenly on the tongue. Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noir possesses a soft salmon hue and a flavor of juicy strawberries, wild cherries, ripe blackberries, and cocoa, as well as orange peel for an added zest. The fruit elements linger in the mouth, warming your spirit and satisfying your taste buds.

Top Recession-Friendly Sparkler: Cristalino Brut Cava ($7-9.99)

Champagne is undoubtedly recognized as the world’s most famous sparkling wine, but Spain isn’t far behind from producing high quality bubbly. Cava, named after the cellars where the wine is produced, is made in the “champagne method,” while being easily accessible and wallet-friendly. In Spain, people drink plenty of cava for New Year’s Eve and often pair it with sweets. Upon conducting research for the best cava, many social drinkers and experts raved over Cristalino Brut from Spain’s El Pardruel estate. It’s a smooth, straw-toned wine with faint hints of crisp green apples. It’s fairly yeasty, but won’t leave a sour, lingering aftertaste. Cristalino Brut is best served with seafood, which means hosting a classy sushi soiree!

Top Recession-Friendly Sparkler: Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’ Alsace Brut Rose ($19.99)

Aside from Champagne, there are many French regions with local wineries that make equally delicious sparkling wines. Alsace has one of the oldest family-owned estates in the country that dates back to 1425, so you know France’s charming cousin has something exciting to offer our flutes. This pink, refreshing bubbly is made by the strictest champagne method, but it’s still a peachy wine ready to buy in cases. Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’ Alsace Brut Rose’s bubbles slowly keep rising, delighting thirsty drinkers who’ll also fall in love with its velvety texture, reminiscent of strawberry shortcake. Not only will Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’ Alsace Brut Rose lift your spirits, but it’ll remind you that summer 2010 isn’t too far away.

Top Recession-Friendly Sparkler: Codorniu Pinot Noir Rose Brut ($15)

Pinot noir is a common red wine grape that can be found in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, making it worthwhile for Latinos to discover on New Year’s Eve. With woody notes and aromas ranging from toasted coconut to ripe tomatoes, Pinot noir grapes produces a rich, dry wine that pairs perfectly with steak, pernil and other meat-based dishes. Codorniu Pinot Noir Rose Brut a faint hint of cherry with a citrus finish to awaken you even when the sun is rising on New Year’s Day. For a cava that’s full-bodied and elegant, Codorniu Pinot Noir Rose Brut is that sophisticated, yet playful sparkler with light, airy bubbles to keep you smiling through the night.

Top Recession-Friendly Sparkler: Georges Gardet Cuvée Saint Flavy Brut Champagne ($30.99)

Real champagne that’s under $100? Yes, it’s slim pickings, especially if you’re looking for complexity and superior quality, but it does exist! Upon a visit to New York City’s Astor Wine & Spirits, Georges Gardet Cuvée Saint Flavy Brut Champagne was happily found and considered a favorite by its staff and shoppers. It’s not too light like other sparkling wines, but does feature a delicate beaded mousse, enhancing its Midas gold color. Pinor meunier, a variety of black wine grapes, as well as pearly green-skinned chardonnay is added with pinot noir, creating a taste of red berries and a welcoming aroma of freshly baked brioche. Gardet Cuvée Saint Flavy Brut Champagne is the ideal wine for toasting and who could possibly resist that on New Year’s?

Top Recession-Friendly Sparkler: Scu Dò Prosecco Brut ($8.99)

Prosecco, Italy’s answer to champagne is officially the “It-Drink” of the times. Not only does proscecco give champagne producers a run for their money with its highly comparable fizzy, crisp, and lip-smacking charm, but it’s far more affordable. In Italy, prosecco is savored during all kinds of joyous events, so it’s no surprise that it would reign supreme on New Year’s Eve. The popular sparkly wine made from white grapes is enticing and youthful, plus you don’t have to wait around for a special moment to enjoy it. Also, the minimal bubbles that prosecco produces dance around your mouth, pleasing even the pickiest patrons. Scu Dò Prosecco Brut is light, clean, citrusy, and under $10! Buy several bottles to serve guests peach-based Bellini cocktails for brunch on New Year’s Day.

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